February 2012 Editor’s Letter: Imaging Emerges at the 2012 International CES

February 2012 Editor’s Letter: Imaging Emerges at the 2012 International CES


The International CES was never really an imaging show. It was a consumer electronics show—a catchall phrase for anything you can plug in, run on batteries or solar power, or watch with 3D glasses. It showcased mainstream CE products, plus all of the esoteric, new stuff that editors would write about, and sometimes bring home to their kids so they could be the “cool mom or dad” on the block.

But it was never really about our world of cameras and lenses and printers and photographic accessories.

Well, the imaging world has changed. The end of the film era happened so long ago that most people under 20 years old would have trouble identifying that square yellow box. Billions of images are now taken every year, and most of them will be forgotten and held hostage on a computer hard drive forever. The megapixel wars escalated, then abated, then escalated again.

Today, the world of consumer electronics no longer excludes digital imaging. In fact, it embraces it, because now there are a myriad of CE devices that can capture, store and display images—so many that in a lot of ways imaging has begun to drive the sales of consumer electronics products.

For the first time, the 2012 International CES featured a number of high-profile imaging companies displaying their wares in the south and central halls, and also hosted PMA@CES at the Venetian. The combined presence sent a message to the 150,000 attendees of the show that the convergence has now hit the mainstream.

There was no shortage of bragging rights for these companies at CES. First-time attendee Nikon debuted their coveted D4 professional DSLR at the show, and Fujifilm showcased their new X-Pro1 compact system camera.

We saw companies like Tamaggo and Lytro break through with innovative technologies, and stalwarts like Canon and Tiffen continue to dazzle with new products of their own. Sigma and Mitsubishi made their presence known in preeminent central hall spots, giving them newfound prominence in the CE world. And, of course, the usual vast displays by Panasonic, Samsung and Sony brought their imaging products more to the forefront this year.

Also, for the first time, PMA shared the stage with the International CES, enabling companies normally not exposed to this vast audience to make new contacts and broaden their distribution beyond photo retailers. It was a true win-win for the imaging industry.

We decided to publish this special issue of Photo Industry Reporter, “The Best of the Best at the International CES,” because we want to bring to our readers what our editors thought were the most outstanding products at the show this year. These products, along with many others featured at the show, should be in high demand in the coming spring season.

This issue follows up the unprecedented show coverage in our CES Digital Imaging/Photography Dailies, sanctioned this year by the CEA. For those of you who were not able to attend the show, or thought twice about exhibiting, circle January 8–11, 2013 on your calendars. It will be worth the trip.